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Green Marketing Is As Alive As You Allow It To Be

May 9th, 2013 No comments

The Future of Green Marketing

How to improve your green marketing messageAustin, Texas: A group of my colleagues and other industry professionals were discussing the future of green marketing last week – and some were wondering if green marketing has peaked and is on the decline.

Is Green Marketing as a broad advertising niche on the decline?

I would say yes…and that is probably a good thing and an opportunity for smart marketers.

Any advertising message has to strike a chord with an audience and that target audience is always changing.

Green marketing is no different.

A green marketing message was never a broad Super Bowl ad type of message– much as a Quit Smoking campaign is not for everyone.

However, there is still a huge demographic that does still want to support green initiatives, buy recycled and organic products and live a greener lifestyle.

That is your target market – and with less clutter and less green washing, it is easier than ever to reach this desired audience–and at a reduced budget.

There is still an audience that is hungry for new products that do not contain chemical additives.

There is still an audience for cars that get better fuel mileage.

There is still an audience that prefers cradle-to-grave product life cycles.

There is still an audience that prefers re-use and recycling.

There is still an audience that clamors for education on how they can reduce their carbon footprint.

There is still an audience seeking energy efficiency in their appliances – at home, at work and at play.

And, with a reduced ad campaign from companies that are targeting this green audience, your green marketing message can now go further with the same ad and marketing spend.

Green marketing is not a mass audience message.

You, as a marketer, control the dialog.

Don’t let the media’s “Scandal of the Day” control the message.

Stay out front in promoting your green marketing message to the right target audience.

Keep it consistent.

Target your audience more succinctly – and let them into your tribe, as marketing genius Seth Godin refers to them.

Now is the time to engage more frequently with your green-friendly target audience.

Let this market grow and spread – and green marketing will take care of itself.

The companies that jumped on the green movement and treated it as a fad are gone – or soon will be.

Those companies that are truly green at its core – and promote a green message as part of their mission and character – will thrive.

Do you think green marketing is dead?

Only if you want it to be dead.

Keep your green marketing message consistent and true, and watch your followers continue to support you and help you to grow.

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Robert Piller, President of Eco Marketing Solutions, has over 28 years of experience in running and implementing green marketing campaigns and is a leader in the recycled promotional products industry, including offering one of the largest selections of recycled and reusable water bottles and imprinted coffee mugs, reusable and organic tote bags, recycled pens and pencils in the country. In addition to being a noted writer on issues of social and safety compliance, Robert Piller recently completed his CAS degree and BASI degree — one of the highest honors in the promotional products industry for his years of continuous education and certification. His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find biodegradable, organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

Eco Marketing Solutions has a strong Code of Conduct as they carefully vet and qualify all their suppliers.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com or below at his Twitter link.

Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutionsAsk us Your Green Marketing Questions Anytime at  Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutions and join the conversation.

 


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Do We Really Need the Good Housekeeping Green Seal for Eco Retail Products?

July 9th, 2012 No comments
Are there already too many green symbols out there in the marketplace

Are there already too many green symbols out there in the marketplace?

Austin, Texas: Proctor and Gamble is putting a lot of marketing dollars behind Good Housekeeping’s Green Seals, which it had launched a few years back, according to a recent article in GreenBiz.com.

I think it is a noble move to have a well respected third party determine the level of green in a product.  It is always nice to understand whether a product is sustainable, uses organic and all natural ingredients – or is trying to disguise their product with greenwashing.

However, as I have mentioned before, the “unintended” consequence of these competing symbols often end up leading to greater confusion.

It is too easy to come up with graphics similar to the Good Housekeeping Green Seals designs- that will falsely portray a product as green when it is not.

I argue for one set of industry standards for green marketing claims.

Just one.

Perhaps now that Proctor and Gamble is using it, giant retailers like Walmart will insist that these, and only these, symbols be used to identify green products.

However, until that time comes, caveat emptor.

Let the buyer beware.

Be skeptical of green symbols.

Do your due diligence and research what green claims a product is making and how they determined its level of “greenness”.

Has it certified by an INDEPENDENT lab?

What is the track record of the company making the claim.

Is their a QR code that easily takes you to a page that explains how they determined the green value of their claim?

Don’t accept green claims at face value until you have done your research.

Ask questions.

Demand more of a company’s claim than just a green symbol.

An educated consumer is still the best consumer.

Let’s put an end to dozens of green symbols that only obfuscate the truth.

Let’s say NO to ambiguity and insist on one set of standards for all green claims.

Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutionsAsk us Your Green Marketing Questions Anytime at  Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutions and join the conversation.

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Robert Piller, President of Eco Marketing Solutions, has over 25 years of experience in running and implementing green marketing campaigns and is a leader in the recycled promotional products industry, including offering one of the largest selections of reusable and organic tote bags, recycled and biodegradable water bottles, recycled pens and pencils in the country.

His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find biodegradable, organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com or below at his Twitter link.

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How Committed Is Your Company To The Green Movement?

September 30th, 2011 No comments

Green Marketing?  Where is Your Commitment?Austin, Texas: As I watch the Republican Presidential debates over the past few weeks, I am amazed at  the lack of commitment by any candidate on most major issues.

Answers  by all seem to be vague, ambiguous and wishy-washy.  There is certainly no passion that comes across to the viewing public.

Is this like your company’s stand on the environment–vague, ambiguous and wishy-washy?

People can easily cut through this B.S. and tell that you are not truly committed.

Green Washing?  No, too many companies do Green Lying, where they knowingly are not green but pretend to be.

If you are a green marketer or an organization going green, how are you living that commitment?

Jut by having the word “green” or “environmentally-friendly” on you packaging or in your mission statement doesn’t make you a green company.

Where is your passion?

How is your company reducing its energy consumption?

How are you reducing packaging waste?

How are you encouraging car pooling by your employees, inspiring greener procedures at work and changing your green lifestyle?

Going green is like fitness….. you need to be committed to it in order to be successful.

Show some passion to the green movement and get involved.

Practice what you preach.

Live the lifestyle.

Your organization will gain a great deal more credibility..and your commitment will show.

I’ll vote for that!

Ask Us Your Green Marketing Questions Anytime at  Facebook.com/ecomarketingsolutions and join the conversation.
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Robert Piller, president of Eco Marketing Solutions, is experienced in green marketing campaigns and recycled promotional products.

His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find biodegradable, organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com or below at his Twitter link.

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SC Johnson Lawsuit Shows the Need for 3rd Party Certification

July 11th, 2011 No comments

be sure to use a 3rd party licensed company for green claimsRather than admit to being guilty, SC Johnson settled some lawsuits last week over its green certification claims, according to an article in GreenBiz.com.

This should shed a light on green certification programs.

Recently, many companies seem to be trying to cut corners and budget by testing their own products for lead, and certifying their products as green.  Hand held lead testing equipment prices have been falling, while third party certification still remains relatively high, causing many companies of all sizes to trim costs.

I am one for saving money in certain ares, but third party certification is not one of those.  Neither is product safety.

If you are going to make green claims, then back it up with legitimate claims.

Be sure your claims are transparent.

If you are going to put one of the dozens of green seals of certification on your product or product packaging, be sure it is from a reputable 3rd party testing lab.

Saying you are the greatest or greenest or smartest or best looking, etc. does not make it so.  Having third party certification makes it much more so.

Please learn from the SC Johnson situation.  Don’t be penny wise and dollar foolish when it comes to green certification claims.

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Robert Piller, President of Eco Marketing Solutions, has over 25 years of experience in running and implementing green marketing campaigns and is a leader in the recycled promotional products industry, including offering one of the largest selections of reusable and organic tote bags, recycled and biodegradable water bottles, recycled pens and pencils in the country.

His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find biodegradable, organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com or below at his Twitter link.

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Should We Be Condemning Greenwashing- Or Assume It Is Just Ignorance?

June 17th, 2011 No comments

is the term greenwashing over usedIn the past few weeks, I have read over a dozen articles and blogs condemning the act of greenwashing.

It seems that “the left” has declared war on the evils of greenwashing– but has forgotten about the virtues of going green itself.

Is greenwashing really a sin?

Can we really even recognize greenwashing?

Is the term “greenwashing” over used and over-hyped?

Sure, there are still too many companies that deliberately exaggerate – or even lie – about the green virtues of their product. They may claim that their product is made from 40% recycled, post-consumer plastic, for example, without using any recycled materials at all.

Greenwashing. No–that would be outright fraud…and should be condemned. This is preying on the unknowing.

I am not advocating greenwashing, at all.  That is certainly not the idea of this blog post.

Instead, I am talking about companies that are actively pursuing policies to “go green” — yet don’t meet the “absolutely green” purity test.

I would argue that there is no product that can be truly green, so people need to expect a little over-exuberance in marketing a legitimately green product.

Most greenwashing claims are from exaggeration, not fraud.

Does that make it right? No. And it should be toned down, and claims should be presented more accurately.

I posed a question on LinkedIn a few weeks asking if a product can be 100% Green–and nobody was able to find one that could be able to be made available for public consumption.

Sure, there were a few answers, such as “getting milk from a cow” or growing your own fruits and vegetables.  However, if you took those products across town in a truck, then it no longer would be considered 100% green.
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Earth Day Promotions and Marketing: Do You Pass the B.S. Test?

March 31st, 2011 No comments

This Earth Day, tens of thousands of companies will be launching a promotional campaign or marketing blitz around this one day event.  Earth day promotion ideasLike other recent “holidays”,  such a Breast Cancer Awareness Week, marketers of all stripes have started to take notice and will use these events as springboards to capitalize on the phenomena.

The public is starting to be wary of every Tom, Dick and Harriet affixing their name to an Earth Day event without having honest reason to participate.  They are starting to develop better BS-meters and their intolerance for green washing is becoming stronger.

My advice, if you are not a green company, find another event to hitch your wagon to.  There are 364 other days in the year for which you can promote your brand.

That being said, if you are a green company, or are going green, Earth Day is a wonderful opportunity to explain to your audience a few facts, such as:

  • How you are green.
  • Why you decided to “go green”.
  • What kinds of benefits to the planet (community, galaxy?) that your audience will reap.
  • Why should your customers care about this change or improvement?
  • Why they should go green.

However, bottom line, remember this:  Earth Day is an opportunity for outreach and for education.

It is fine to explain the benefits of your product or service–but also take the time to make your audience aware of other ways that they can help to reduce their carbon footprint. Help organizations, businesses and the general public understand more about recycling and its benefits.

Get children involved with tree planting to beautify their neighborhood, their homes or their park.

Help people to understand the Why of Earth Day and its benefits to them and to future generations

Be pro-active—-and be REAL.

Happy Earth Day!

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Robert Piller, experienced in green marketing campaigns and recycled promotional products,  has worked to help plant over 25 million trees through his live tree seedling gift program over the past dozen years.   His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green.  The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find biodegradable, organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com.


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Is There Really a Need for an International Green Chamber of Commerce?

March 25th, 2011 No comments

green certification and green seals of approvalsI just received a press release about an organization called  the EcoChamber, which claims to be “the global green chamber of commerce”.  They say that they have  “more than 1,100 global listings, 2,100 Twitter followers and 700 Facebook fans”, which is a nice start.

Their mission seems lofty and innocent enough as it is listed in the release: “Our mission is to help the growth of green businesses worldwide,” commented EcoChamber’s founder Tia Diaz-Balart. “By helping deliver customers, investors and other stakeholders to companies and organizations who are doing right by the environment, we can not only encourage other companies to adopt sustainable practices, but also help have a positive cumulative net impact on our ecosystems through the global green economy.”

However, does a need for a non-profit “global” chamber of commerce  exist — or will its certification lead to more confusion and uncertainty in the marketplace?  Because of all the seals of approvals and certifications from an alphabet soup of organizations, the FTC has come down hard on green washing claims to help avoid confusion in the marketplace in its new Green Guides.

If we can have just a handful of seals that can be used–one for organic, one for biodegradable, one for recycled — like we do for recyclable materials, I think we will all be better served.  Just as the government has stepped in to make Nutritional Labels standardized, I think it will need to insist on a certain structure for all green claims in order to avoid potential for greenwashing –whether inadvertent or not.

That being said, do you think a global green Chamber of commerce is needed?  Please share your thoughts.

Let’s Make Every Day, Earth Day!

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Robert Piller, experienced in green marketing campaigns and recycled promotional products,  has worked to help plant over 25 million trees through his live tree seedling gift program over the past dozen years.   His company’s website, EcoMarketingSolutions.com, features over 25,000 eco-friendly promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green.  The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find biodegradable, organic and recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame.

You can also reach him by email (robert (at) ecomarketingsolutions.com) or comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com.


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FTC has Announced New Green Rules Against Broad Eco Statements

October 11th, 2010 No comments

FTC Announces new Green GuidelinesThe FTC has made some of their proposed revisions to the Federal Trade Commission’s Green Guides, which are a set of guidelines aimed at clearing up confusion since its last update in 1998.

These are preliminary guidelines, as the FTC is still seeking public comment on the updated guidelines for 60 days, before issuing a final version, which will not be announced until late 2011, at the earliest.

“The Green Guides were designed to help businesses avoid making misleading environmental claims,” FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said Wednesday during a conference call with reporters. “That, of course, helps consumers.”

Leibowitz described an “explosion” of green claims being made for a variety of goods, ranging from paper towels to textiles, leaving consumers confused about what they’re buying. “We’re not always getting what we think we’re getting,” he said.

At the same, businesses are also unclear about the environmental attributes of their products, so clear cut rules will help all parties. These new guidelines were supposed to be ready by 2009, but, like every other government project, things seem to take much longer than anticipated.

The FTC is looking mostly to have companies able to substantiate their environmental claims, and to use more narrowly-focused terms rather than “eco-friendly” or “green”, to avoid confusion.
I am sure the final guidelines will be watered down, unfortunately, as “interest” groups on all sides weigh in.

However, best business practices are to always be able to substantiate claims a company makes, be it in terms of sustainability, biodegradation, energy efficiency and any other factors. Common sense will prevail in the end.

Let’s make every day, Earth Day!
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Robert Piller, experienced in green marketing campaigns and recycled promotional products. His web site includes a comprehensive advertising specialty search, featuring over 250,000 eco promotional items in all price ranges, for any business or organization interested in going green. The site’s handy search tool helps you easily find recyclable, biodegradable, organic or recycled imprinted promotional items in your price range and time frame. View the Go Green website at EcoMarketingSolutions.com and comment on his blog postings at GreenSpotBlog.com.